I personally would never use them. I see them as a way of restriction which to me is a way of forcing the horse into a situation were they might be wearing them.
But from what I no some studs use them on the hind end of a mare when she is being served so she doesnt kick at the stallion or anything....but don't quote me on that.....
yes I have heard of studs using hobbles and sidelines on their mares.
people also use them when the horse is tied up. E.g stallions & colts at competions.
I don't think they are evil, but should only be used in the most necessary of times. And used by someone who is experienced in using them
I guess it all depends on what you do with your horses. If you are training a horse that will never be out of an arena I see no purpose in them. If you trail ride or horse camp. I see it as a valuable tool in containing your horse when no other means are available.
Its also a safety training aid so that if your horse gets something, say barbed wired, wrapped around its feet it doesn't freak out and cause further injury. If you have traveled with your horses much you know that many state and federal parks do not allow highline or picket line to trees. If your out for a few days or a week you have to have some way of containing your horse and this is the best way. I've seen to many horses run throught the portable pens and its not something that would fit in a pack so those are pretty well out. A single leg hobble and a picket are easily packed and I see nothing cruel about them. Better to have them hobble trained then to have your horse run off when you are 30 miles from the truck and a couple hundred miles from home.
Good point, Vida. In fact in other countries when you go to camp that's the only way to restrict the horse still letting it graze all night. I've been at such camps and horses are extremely well trained for that. Certainly no inconvenience for the horse involved.
That I can understand. But when I start having problems with hobbles when people use them for riding training. Like the western pleasure horses that where hobbled to slow them down. That's when I start to think hobbles are wrong.
This is the only way I have seen hobbles used, for containment. I can't really comment on any other uses. I really didn't know there were other reasons to use them, except in old time cowboy breaking that is pretty much obsolete.